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The flavor of these Mustard or Garlic-Spiked Crispy Potato Cakes will transport you straight to India for street food!

I am a ridiculously big fan of street food. When I travel, one of my favorite ways to experience a new place is to spend an afternoon wandering around with no real destination to speak of, enjoying the local fare from street vendors. Not only does it provide an authentic sampling of local eats, but it’s also a much more affordable option!

India has been on my bucket list of places to travel for quite some time now. I’m completely smitten with the colors, sights, foods, etc., but I haven’t made it there yet. Until I do, I’ll have to satiate my wanderlust by enjoying their street food.

The inside of the Mumbai version of these potato cakes is quite green thanks to a hefty dose of fresh cilantro!

I was immediately intrigued when I saw James Beard winner Raghavan Iyer’s recipe for Mustard or Garlic-Spiked Crispy Potato Cakes in Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked–And Fried Too!. He gives instructions for two different types of potato cakes, garlic-spiked from Mumbai and mustard-spiked from Madras. But before I get into the actual recipe, let’s talk for a minute about that book. Because what’s not to love about a cookbook devoted entirely to potatoes, right?!

Potatoes are the fourth largest crop in the world; feeding so many people, one of the things I love most about the potato is how versatile it is. Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked–And Fried Too! beautifully showcases the potato’s many uses in recipes for appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and even desserts. One of my favorite things about this cookbook is that in addition to demonstrating the potato’s culinary versatility, this cookbook also highlights potato recipes from various cultures around the world. Recipes like Canadian Lamb-Potato Tourtière, Potato-Stuffed Chiles Rellenos, Moroccan Potato Stew with Saffron Biscuits, Vegetable-Filled Potato Knishes, and Sweet Potato Pithivier will leave you wondering what to make first!

These potato cakes are a lovely way to showcase both the glorious potato and Indian flavors. The recipe was easy to follow and I learned a new trick! The author says to add a bit of hot oil to the batter before coating and frying the potato cakes to yield a crispier result; it worked like a charm. These cakes are crispy, flavorful, and highly addictive. I can almost imagine myself walking through the streets of India as I munch them. ;)

From the book, here’s how the author describes these cakes:

Maybe I’m partial to India, but I marvel at the country’s fascination with the potato, even though it is a relatively new crop. (It was brought in by Spanish and Portuguese merchants in the sixteenth century.) It’s the most affordable vegetable for even the poorest of the poor and no Indian meal feels complete without it.

From two disparate regions with remarkably different cooking and spicing styles—Mumbai on the west coast and Madras (now called Chennai) on the southeast coast—come two variations of crispy cakes: one spiked with roasted mustard seeds and lime, the other fragrant with garlic. Both are enrobed in a chickpea flour batter and fried to a gorgeous brown. They cannot be any more different in terms of flavors, but are equally addictive.

Mustard or Garlic-Spiked Crispy Potato Cakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 24 cakes (12 of each version)
The flavor of these Mustard or Garlic-Spiked Crispy Potato Cakes will transport you straight to India for street food!
  • 2 pounds medium-sized red-skin potatoes
Mumbai Version:
  • 6 slices fresh ginger (each about the size and thickness of a quarter; no need to peel first), coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 2 or 3 fresh green serrano chilies, stems discarded
  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Madras Version:
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh curry leaves (optional)
  • 2 or 3 fresh green serrano chilies, stems discarded, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons healthy oil (such as olive oil, avocado, or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup chickpea flour, sifted
  • ¼ cup white rice flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Healthy oil with a high smoke point (such as light olive oil, avocado, or grapeseed oil), for deep-frying
  1. Peel the potatoes and place them in a medium-size saucepan. Cover them with cold water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork or knife, about 20 to 25 minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the potato water and set it aside. Drain the potatoes. Divide them equally between 2 medium-size bowls. Mash each portion with a potato masher.
  2. Lay out 2 large pieces of wax paper or parchment paper on the counter.
  3. To make the Mumbai version, pile the ginger, garlic, chilies, and cilantro into a food processor. Pulse the medley into an herbaceous mince (do not puree). Scrape this into one of the bowls of potatoes. Sprinkle in the salt and turmeric and give it all a good mix. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, setting each portion onto one of the pieces of wax paper. Shape each into a ball, then flatten each into a disk about ½ inch thick and return it to the wax paper.
  4. To make the Madras version, add the cilantro, curry leaves (if using), and chilies to the second bowl of potatoes. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil appears to shimmer, sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cover the pan right away as the seeds will start to pop, not unlike popcorn. Once the seeds finish popping, 10 to 15 seconds, remove the pan from the heat. Uncover it and sprinkle in the salt and the turmeric, which will bathe the oil with its sunny disposition. Scrape this all into the potatoes and pour in the lime juice. Stir well to incorporate all these ingredients into the potatoes. Divide, shape, and flatten this mixture as you did the Mumbai version, using the other piece of wax paper as the holding area.
  5. To make the batter, combine the chickpea and rice flours in a medium-size bowl and sprinkle in the salt and turmeric. Pour in half of the reserved potato water and whisk it in, making sure there are no lumps. Continue drizzling and whisking as much potato water as you need to make a batter that is slightly thicker than pancake batter.
  6. Pour oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven, or medium-sized saucepan. Heat the oil over medium heat until a candy or deep-frying thermometer inserted into the oil (without touching the pan bottom) registers 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with several layers of paper towels, for draining the cakes of excess oil. If you want to serve all the cakes at one time, set a wire rack over another cookie sheet, place it in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 175°F.
  7. Once the oil is ready, carefully scoop out ¼ cup of the hot oil and gently whisk it into the batter. The hot fat makes the cakes crispier when fried.
  8. Pick up a cake with your hand (a little messy but it works well) and gently drop it into the batter. Use your hand or a fork to carefully flip it over, then lift it out. (Make sure the cake gets completely coated.) Slide it into the hot oil. Coat and add another 5 cakes to the oil. Deep-fry the cakes, flipping them over with a slotted spoon, until they are reddish brown and crispy, about 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them with the spoon to the paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining cakes and batter. Serve each batch fresh from frying (can’t imagine why not!); or, after draining, set them on the wire rack in the oven preheated to 175°F to keep warm.
Recipe very slightly adapted from Raghavan Iyer’s recipe for Mustard or Garlic-Spiked Crispy Potato Cakes in Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked–And Fried Too!.

: : GIVEAWAY : :

Thanks to the Idaho Potato Commission, I’m happy to be giving away one copy of Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked–And Fried Too!  to one lucky reader.

To participate in this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite way to cook potatoes.

For extra entries, you can do any of the following (please leave a separate comment for each so they can be counted as additional entries):

You do not need to have a blog to enter this giveaway. To enter, you must be at least 18 years old. For shipping purposes, this giveaway is only open to U.S. residents. This giveaway ends on January 26, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST. Once the giveaway ends, the winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. The winner will have three business days to respond with his or her mailing information, otherwise a new winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck to all!

Disclosure: The Idaho Potato Commission provided me with a copy of this cookbook for review as well as compensation for my time involved in this post, and they are also providing the cookbook for this giveaway. As always, opinions stated are my own.

Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. I’ve pinned this recipe and can’t wait to try the two different versions. Actually I’m sure they will both be new favorite potato dishes.

  2. I love potatoes roasted with lemon juice, oregano, and garlic. Delish.

  3. I love potatoes If I had to choose, my favorite preparation is stewed: peel and cut potatoes into chunks Cover with water, simmer until tender. Mash some of the potatoes to thicken/ Much more potato flavor than mashed potatoes

  4. These potato cakes look irresistible, Faith! What a great appetizer idea – both versions sound delicious!

  5. mashed potatoes are my favorite way to make potatoes!

  6. Ooh, this book sounds great! You have to love potatoes. I think my favorite way to eat potatoes is the classic mash with butter and salt, but to be honest, there aren’t many potato dishes I don’t like! Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity.

  7. The look delicious! Very comforting.



  8. Potato-Cauliflower Soup is a family favorite, but these look amazing!

  9. french fries work for me

  10. I like your Facebook page as well.

  11. I like Famous Idaho Potatoes on Facebook.

  12. I like Workman Publishing on Facebook.

  13. I had a cake too, but mine had sweet potatoes in the mix. It was also a chocolate cake and I enjoyed it!

  14. My favorite way to make potatoes is oven baked fries. I like cutting them in big wedges, coating with a bit of olive oil and adding a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

  15. Susan Broughton says:

    I liked An Edible Mosaic on Facebook.

  16. Susan Broughton says:

    I liked Famous Idaho Potatoes on Facebook.

  17. Susan Broughton says:

    I liked Workman Publishing on Facebook.

  18. Susan Broughton says:

    We love all kinds of potatoes. We love roasted, mashed, baked etc. I guess we eat Baked potatoes the most. We put a lot of toppings on ours.

  19. I love potatoes! A classic potato pie with baked leeks and parsnips is one of my favourite recipes.

  20. Kimmy Ripley says:

    I liked Faith’s Kitchen on Facebook.

  21. Kimmy Ripley says:

    I like Famous Idaho Potatoes on Facebook.

  22. Kimmy Ripley says:

    I like Workman Publishing on Facebook.

  23. Kimmy Ripley says:

    I love to roast purple potatoes with olive oil and rosemary.

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